Saturday, November 21, 2009

PICKPOCKET (French) (1959)

“The style of this film is not thriller. Using image and sound the filmmaker strive to express the nightmare of a young man whose weaknesses lead him to commit acts of theft for which nothing destined him. However this adventure, and the strange paths it takes, brings together two souls that may have otherwise never have met.”

Perhaps Bresson didn’t want to baffle the audience throughout the film to hunt for its theme and so before we see the first scene of the film, he clarified it in initial titles and that’s possibly the best to sum it up about the plot and theme. But he did it for purpose, so that the audience can concentrate on other aspects of this masterpiece.

Michel who started as obsessed pickpocket ended up as creative artist. Like ordinary pickpocket, he’s not stealing for money only but something higher than that. He believes it as higher art gifted to few chosen one.
Bresson had allowed action to tell the story rather than straight dialogues. The use of voice over is other device which explains us the motivations or internal feelings of characters. Like De Sica and Godard he also used non professional actors in the film. Initially Martin LaSalle as Michel seems expressionless to me but with innocence of face and gentleman like body language he finely managed to bring the character of naïve pickpocket in almost every frame.

I am so surprised to see the whole aesthetics of pickpocket by some smartest professional finger tricks done by these specialists. In fact some of them are so quick and baffling one that one has to rewatch the scene to understand their expertise of teamwork. Bresson’s film shows us some of the brilliant camera focus of extreme close up shots and it keeps the authenticity of his detailing. For me, watching this first Bresson film is demanding but it’s extremely satisfying and enjoyable too.
It’s ignorance to rate great classic.

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